Arts Orbit Weekly: 11/20/08


This week’s picks

Thursday, November 20
Does Joe Dowling have the Guthrie logo tattooed on his arm? I haven’t checked, but I suspect not. Jeremey Catterton, artistic director of Lamb Lays With Lion, now literally wears his heart on his sleeve—specifically, on his inner forearm. The LLWL troupe will be at the Hexagon tonight performing The Little Skeleton That Could Not, a work of “info-tainment” about alcoholism, AIDS, and anorexia. Stick around afterwards for music by Fort Wilson Riot, Plastic Chord, and Speed’s The Name.

Friday, November 21
Last Christmas you gave your godparents a terra cotta garlic cooker…how are you ever going to top that?! Try a work of original art from a student at MCAD; the school’s annual art sale opens tonight.

Saturday, November 22
Calhoun Square may be one of the architectural tragedies of Minneapolis—a mall where a mall has no place being—but it’s sure delicious on the inside. Drag yourself out of bed by 2 p.m. to enjoy some caffeine for a cause (Second Harvest Heartland) at the annual Calhoun Square Coffee Festival. Later, dive into the heart of St. Paul to see Kevin Odegard—a guitarist on Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks and coauthor of a book about the making of that classic album—at the Twin Cities Jewish Book Fair. (A tip for afterwards: the Chatterbox on Cleveland has Bubblejack on tap.)

Sunday, November 23
LUX Magazine has just named Minneapolis’s Chambers Hotel the top art hotel in the world. (Eat it, Amsterdam!) There’s never been a better time to taste the life of a fabulously wealthy jet-setting culture vulture, since the hotel’s Burnet Gallery is currently home to A Long Night’s Journey Into Day, a much-lauded exhibit of new work by painter Megan Rye. (If you are a fabulously wealthy jet-setting culture vulture, click here.)

Monday, November 24
Escape the biting cold (where did that come from? oh, right, it’s November) by adopting a South Pacific theme for your Monday night. Nosh on some egg rolls—certified “delectable” by Jeremy Iggers—at Eat Street’s Pho Hoa, then head up campus way to The Whole for a small-stage big-band Jazz Tsunami.

Tuesday, November 25
Tonight, a woman identified in press releases as “assault victim Tammie” stands beside Mayor Chris Coleman—a man who must feel like an assault victim himself these days—to take back the night with the flip of a switch as she officially opens Holiday Lights in the Park at Lake Phalen. The annual event is, appropriately, co-sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers—an organization that has the best union logo ever.

Wednesday, November 26
Have Pizza Lucé deliver for dinner, because (a) it’s delicious and (b) you get a free Heiruspecs CD to listen to while you drive to the Lagoon to see what Jim Brunzell III calls “one of the best films of 2008.”

For more weekend picks, see the Weekend What’s What from l’etoile magazine.

Daily Planet arts roundup

Visual Arts

Minnesota artists are celebrating the passage of the Legacy Amendment, which will provide tens of millions of dollars in annual funding for the arts…but where will the money go? No one would like to know more than artists in Northeast Minneaplis, who are offering a variety of holiday open houses to attract increasingly scarce buyers for their work.

If you’re aiming to look rather than buy, there’s no shortage of good stuff for you to feast your eyes on.
• Marya Hornbacher praises the new show by Megan Rye, who adapted her brother’s photos from Iraq into haunting paintings.
• The last show at the Minnesota Museum of American Art—at least, the last for a while—showcases Minnesota cartoonists. Britt Aamodt fills us in.
• Musician/ceramicist Chuck Solberg is opening his St. Anthony Park studio for a glimpse at his hot pots, reports Judy Woodward.
• Now is the perfect time to beat the crowds in Duluth—quick dip in the lake, anyone?—and see a remarkable show by Frank Big Bear. editor emeritus Ann Klefstad gives the show a glowing recommendation.
• And Jeremy Stratton directs you to stop into the West Bank Shop if you’re in the market for an unpredictable participatory art experience—or a haircut.

Finally, architecture buffs take note: I asked four local experts to name the best building that’s gone up in St. Paul in the last 30 years…and the answer, it turns out, isn’t exactly a “building” at all.


Sunday night at the BLB, I ran into Matt Peiken, who was taking video of an odd little show called Quickies. In my review, I had to be honest: “The show’s rapid-fire unpleasantness left me feeling queasy.”

I had more queasiness in the BLB theater last night, but I managed to stick with the Star Wars Holiday Special right up until Bea Arthur’s musical number in the Mos Eisley cantina. Even an IV drip of Two Hearted couldn’t have held me in my seat after that. What I should have been there for was the überfunky dance performance by our blogger John Munger.

No word on whether John made it to the Fringe-For-Fall, but Phillip Andrew Bennett Low dragged himself, starving and naked, through the negro streets at dawn to get there. If he’d stopped at the Mixed Blood, Aditi Kapil could have sheltered him with some of the hundreds of pages from earlier drafts of her new play Agnes Under the Big Top, A Fairy Tale. She told Dwight Hobbes all about it.


It’s been a big week in classical music news, as money continues to pour into the coffers of St. Paul’s Arts Partnership, a U of M student signs with the Metropolitan Opera, and the One Voice Mixed Chorus sings the virtues of prophylactics. Meanwhile, hip-hoppers Heiruspecs have to jump out of pizzas to get attention for their upcoming album.

In other music news, Rich Horton talks with local rocker Bill Mike about the record industry’s new tricks to exploit up-and-coming bands, and Cyn Collins reviews the recent Entry show by Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs—the artists responsible for such modern country classics as “Getting High for Jesus (‘Cause He Got Low For Me).”


Don’t discount the tenth pho house on Nicollet just because it’s also the first ethnic chain restaurant to appear there, says Jeremy Iggers, calling Pho Hoa “the hottest little pho house on Eat Street.” Jeremy also writes about the Caux Culinary Challenge, and Cyn Collins tips us off about the impending move (to a new location only 50 feet away) of Midori’s Floating World Café.


Two new releases from the University of Minnesota Press:
• Melissa Slachetka reviews The Strange Case of William Mumler, which dryly documents the trial of a 19th century New Yorker who claimed to be photographing the spirits of the dead.
• John Hierlinger praises The Great Minnesota Fish Book, which he says “belongs on every Minnesota cabin’s coffee table.”


Alex Ebert reports that Cedar-Riverside is standing in for an Eastern European war zone in Ana’s Playground, a short film now in production. Also, Jim Brunzell III reviews Let the Right One In, “a new horror classic” about a preteen vampire.

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Jay Gabler ( is the Daily Planet’s arts editor.